Vatican, 31 December 2022 (GNP): The former pope Benedict XVI breathed his last. He was 95 years old. The nonagenarian Pope was the first who resigned from the pontification in some 600 years.
Pope Francis, who replaced him as the head of the Catholic Church, requested in his Wednesday general audience to pray for the health and recovery of Pope Emeritus.
The officials at the Vatican said that the corpse of the late Pope would be laid in peace in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
The funeral Mass for the deceased Pope will be presided over by Pope Francis at Saint Peter’s Square. This is a rare event in history that a current Pope will pray and eulogize the life of his predecessor.
In 2005, the body of the deceased Pope, John Paul II, was also laid in Saint Peter’s Square before a funeral Mass that was attended by over one million people, with many heads of state and government attending the ceremony.
Doctors were closely monitoring the deteriorating health conditions of Pope Emeritus, who breathed his last this morning as was communicated by the Vatican officials.
In the tiny city-state of the Vatican, he was living an entirely reclusive life after abdicating the exalted office of the pontiff in February 2013 due to his falling physical and mental conditions. He is the first Pope who willingly stepped down from the pontification since 1415 CE.
A brilliant theologian and philosopher of Christianity, the Pope Emeritus period is marred with some harsh controversies. Among the most unpleasant and obnoxious one was the sexual exploitation of children by clerics, which shocked the whole world.
He denied his involvement in such wrongdoings and publically apologized for these scandals. The Vatican also strongly defended him against public and media criticism.
Born in Germany in 1927, Pope Emeritus’s original name was Joseph Ratzinger. Who succeeded Pope John Paul II after his death in 2005. He is the first German pope of the modern era.